The defeat of reason and the punishment of volunteerism

At the municipal council of the 25th of October,and after the unjustified delay of several weeks from the Vice-Mayor in charge,Mr.Kontaxakis who deposited the relevant proposition,the municipal council unanimously issued the decision nbr 693 regarding the invitation of a group of volunteer vets,licensed by the Greek state for the conduct of sterilization programmes of stray animals.Taking into account the irrepressible number of stray animals and the already current list of the Municipality of Chania relating to sterilizations exceeding 1500 animals,the contribution of volunteer vets at zero expenses for the Municipality, and with complete scientific certification who conduct this programme,are especially significant.

Due to the unjustifiable delay of Mr.Kontaxakis’ proposing the issue to the Municipal Council, the scheduled sterilizations spanning over a few days in October were cancelled; a fact which was condemned by all the municipal councillors,independent of their respective parties ,as everyone had expressed their given consent regarding a programme which was only to the benefit of the Municipality.

According to the decision nbr 693 of the Municipal Council,a programme of a few days for sterilizations was to be conducted this week,with the aim of the minimal decongestion of the list of animals to be sterilized.Volunteers of animal welfare associations had consecutive meetings with both the Mr.Mayor as well as the Vice-Mayor, Mr.Vlachakis in order to ensure that all legal prerequisites would be met for the successful conduct of this programme.Throughout the entire process of this preparation,Mr.Kontaxakis was inexcusably absent while the Department of Husbandry of the Municipality of Chania spread the rumour that this programme would NOT be conducted.Simultaneously,the municipal vet stated her refusal in being present at her workplace during the days where the above-mentioned programme would be conducted by means of a press conference of the Panhellenic Veterinary Association,,whereby it was reported that she had been ”forced” to turn in her keys to the municipal vet’s office in order for the volunteers to work,against her will.

On Monday,the 6th of November,in the absence of Mr.Kontaxakis and the municipal vet,with the expressed support of both Mr.Vamvoukas and Mr.Vlachakis, the free sterilizations of stray animals, had begun.Volunteers of the animal welfare associations,with the contribution of the Legal Union of Chania,ensured the relevant information to be relayed to the District Attorney’s Office concerning the legality of the procedure of sterilizations.

During the conduct of the programme,the Veterinary Department of the Regional Unity of Chania arrived for supervision,as well as the police who upon (anonymous) report concluded that the sterilizations were ”illegal”.Both the animal welfare volunteers and the Legal Union were present for the purpose of defending and ensuring the legality of the sterilizations and of the conducted supervision.

However Mr.Kontaxakis was still absent,as was the Municipal vet.In search of the Mr.Mayor in order for him to accept responsibility and shield the execution of the decision of the Municipal Council,stunned,we heard him decide the cessation of the programme.

We waited for more than three hours to meet with the Mr.Mayor to provide us with an explanation.Despite the fact that we had eventually met him,we received no reply.Mr.Kontaxakis,finally present,disdained the most active of members of one of the animal welfare associations, a case and point of this being that while we were attempting to speak with him,he literally had his back turned toward us;an attitude which he has retained since the first day of his authorization of the welfare of stray animals.In fact, he stated that he had,at his disposal,the document of the Veterinary Department from the previous week relating to the sterilization programme.In spite of this,not only was he unaware of the content of the programme,but he did not take the necessary actions of informing us of this during our consecutive meetings with the Mr.Mayor,a fact,which in our opinion,suggests his intention of cancelling the sterilizations yet one more time,undermining in this way, his own proposition.

It is disheartening to watch the leadership of our Municipality,to be swayed by a small group of people who are celebrating the humiliation of the Mr.Mayor today.

It is disheartening that an employee of the Municipality refuses to work and be absent from her position of employment, only to report the Municipality with unsubstantiated charges and to bear no consequences of her actions.

It is disheartening that the head of the 5-member committee of the Municipality has requested the euthanasia of healthy animals and the starvation of strays,to not apply the law in several issues and to be considered,according to Mr.Kontaxakis,that he represents the policy of the Municipality regarding animals.

It is even more disheartening that the Mr.Mayor is still considering whether he should accept the Municipality vet’s resignation or not,the very vet who chose today for the second time within a few days to stop the sterilizations disregarding the unanimous decisions of the Municipality Council,declaring resignation,with total awareness that this move would obstruct the continuation of the sterilization programme,a fact which constitutes her goal from her first day of arrival in Chania.The civil servant code,which in the event that an employee refuses to fulfil his or her obligations,is effectively relieved of leadership as well as other offices of the Municipality.

It is pitiable that the Veterinary Department once again adheres to bureaucratic obstacles whilst transgressing his authority by stopping the voted decisions of the Municipal Councillors, even though no criminal offense has been committed.

Finally,it is disheartening that the police officer acts in such a way toward citizen volunteers who legally participate in animal welfare activities and demands to have both animals and citizens to be thrown out of the Municipal Veterinary office,and instead of arresting those in charge at the Municipality,turns against the people who, at the instruction of the Municipality, were there.

In the last few days we have publically followed a private vet both projecting and advertising herself as the authentic volunteer; namely, that she”perform(s) the best sterilizations”,calling to the European vets ”to return home”,because ”what do we want with these Christians”.Mr.Kontaxakis,on the other hand,ultimately entwining himself with those who reacted against sterilizations performed by volunteer vets,claims that there are 13 vets in Chania who offer their services in sterilizing animals completely pro bono for the Municipality of Chania.

We therefore invite and challenge Mr.Kontaxakis to publish this list,so that volunteer citizens who care for stray animals begin to set appointments for sterilizations;hence it will be revealed if their statement is merely a facade or if they are indeed sincere.For it is we, who have been inviting them for years to offer their services totally free- of- charge,but as yet no sterilization has been actualised.

Today, reason was defeated.

Today, we were conquered by fear.

The unsubstantiated and inexcusable fear of the Mr.Mayor and the fear of the private vets who,while honouring their profession and they themselves declare their shame and disagreement for the manipulation of the minority of their colleagues,they have not publically uttered one word as yet.

We are in deep regret.We have lost nothing.Our community,however,public interest and reason were entirely defeated by 13 people.

We will continue our fight,a battle has been lost, but not the war for the good of both animals and society.

Animal Welfare Association ”Animals Care”
Animal and Cultural Welfare Association ”KYN-ONIA”.

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